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Nyoongar six seasons designs

In south western Australia, the traditional landowners, the Nyoongar people, have a calendar of six seasons that represented and explained the annual seasonal changes:

Birak - First summer

Bunuru - Second summerDjeran - AutumnMakuru - WinterDjilba - First springKambarang - Second spring
December - JanuaryFebruary - MarchApril - MayJune - JulyAugust - SeptemberOctober - November
Season of the youngSeason of adolescenceSeason of adulthoodSeason of fertilitySeason of conceptionSeason of birth

The six Nyoongar seasons are indicated by what is happening and changing in nature – the flowering of different plants, the migration or moulting of certain animals, and the weather patterns - rather than by dates on a calendar.

The six season calendar is extremely important to Nyoongar people, as it guides them on nature’s cycles throughout the year, and has led to a deep respect for the land and plant and animal fertility cycles.

City of Stirling’s Aboriginal designs

In support of the City’s Reconciliation Action Plan to increase awareness of Aboriginal culture, a series of traditional Aboriginal designs depicting the six seasons were commissioned through local Hamersley-based and Aboriginal-owned graphic design agency, Norlap Creative.

Norlap Creative worked in partnership with respected Wadjuk artist, Teresa Miller, to create six original hand paintings inspired by traditional stories, flora and fauna from Mooro Country. These paintings were then turned into vector images for the City of Stirling to use in graphic design.

Teresa has a close personal connection – having given birth to four of her seven children at Osborne Park Hospital – and ancestral connection to Mooro Country, which dates back to Yagan’s mother and beyond.

Inspiration behind the six designs

According to artist, Teresa Miller:

“Each design features a specific colour symbolising a Noongar season, while showcasing Mooro Country fauna and flora (some animals from traditional times).

Flowing through each design we see the bidi (path) left by the Wagyl (Waugul or Waarkal).

In the Nyitting (Noongar Dreaming Time or Creation Time), the Wagyl travelled through Mooro Country from the hills to the sea, creating all the waterholes, lakes and swamps that once connected across that land, keeping the animals and plants so strong and fertile.

The footsteps of people now follow that same dreaming bidi (path) as we all benefit from the creation spirit’s first journey. It reminds us of our responsibility to keep the country as healthy as we found it.

The creation journey is central to each of the designs and so connects each design together.

These designs connect both spiritually and literally because the six designs align when placed side by side in seasonal order."

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  • Birak (first summer) design: Season of the young, symbolised by red. Fire stick burning maintain open pasture for hunting. Manitj (white cockatoo) screech in shady trees. Emu searched for water. Birak (first summer) design: Season of the young, symbolised by red. Fire stick burning maintain open pasture for hunting. Manitj (white cockatoo) screech in shady trees. Emu searched for water.
  • Bunuru (second summer) design: Season of adolscence, symbolised by orange. Hot with little rain. Yongar (roos) head inland, turtles burrow. People hunt in near cooling sea and in wetlands, and utilise the Balga tree for high energy protein and medicine.Bunuru (second summer) design: Season of adolscence, symbolised by orange. Hot with little rain. Yongar (roos) head inland, turtles burrow. People hunt in near cooling sea and in wetlands, and utilise the Balga tree for high energy protein and medicine.
  • Djeran (autumn) design: Season of adulthood, symbolised by green. Cooler days begin, green shoots reappear. Mob move from the coast but still catch some coastal fauna like Bamba (rays). Red flowers abound. Balga trees repair Mia Mia (shelter).Djeran (autumn) design: Season of adulthood, symbolised by green. Cooler days begin, green shoots reappear. Mob move from the coast but still catch some coastal fauna like Bamba (rays). Red flowers abound. Balga trees repair Mia Mia (shelter).
  • Makuru (winter) design: Season of fertility, symbolised by blue. Wet and cold. Maali (Swan) congregate and get ready to breed as turtle hatchlings learn to survive. Plants and trees in Mooro Country thrive and are as green as ever will be.Makuru (winter) design: Season of fertility, symbolised by blue. Wet and cold. Maali (Swan) congregate and get ready to breed as turtle hatchlings learn to survive. Plants and trees in Mooro Country thrive and are as green as ever will be.
  • Djilba (first spring) design: Season of conception, symbolised by yellow. Warming, sunnier days. Flowering Acacia blooms. Black tail and red tail cockatoos begin their nesting in tree hollows to keep young safe.Djilba (first spring) design: Season of conception, symbolised by yellow. Warming, sunnier days. Flowering Acacia blooms. Black tail and red tail cockatoos begin their nesting in tree hollows to keep young safe.
  • Kambarang (second spring) design: Season of birth, symbolised by pink. Abundance of bright colour across land. Norne and Dobitj (tiger snakes and dugites) begin to awaken. Nyitting stories tell us that Nyoongar people worked together with Kwilenas (Dolphins) and shared the catch. Kambarang (second spring) design: Season of birth, symbolised by pink. Abundance of bright colour across land. Norne and Dobitj (tiger snakes and dugites) begin to awaken. Nyitting stories tell us that Nyoongar people worked together with Kwilenas (Dolphins) and shared the catch.